So, here we all are. Mental Health Awareness week, perfect timing. In the midst of a pandemic, some of you with businesses heaving with new growth opportunities and others facing harsh times with the impact of lack of opportunities through lockdown and other collective restrictions. No matter your situation, business leaders and owners are dealing with a “once in a lifetime” challenging business scenario, in real time! Who knew 2020 was going to be such a game changer?
Being mindful of how you are feeling and the impact this time is having on your health, decision making, relationships and general well-being, may feel like something that is way down your “priority list”. However, as they say in the safety talk, it is time to put your oxygen mask on first.
This article will hopefully have some helpful insights and tips on how to manage your personal resilience and wellbeing as you face into whatever the future brings you in your business and personal life. However, be kind to yourself, building time into your day for you is easier said than done. Resilience is a deliberate decision and like anything worth having, takes time, focus and making the baby steps count.
The areas of resilience we are going to focus on are:
For most Kiwis, talking about your strengths feels weird and is not something we tend to spend a lot of time doing.
Taking the time to assess the things you do well and how you bring value to a situation, are important for personal resilience.
The voice inside our head is often critical and spends most of its time telling you what you did wrong.
Instead of letting that voice run riot, reflect on those times when you have made a positive difference at work or home, when you have solved challenges and come up with solutions, and even those days where you went home elated and energised. What was so special about those days, what did you do, how did you act, in what way did you make things better? Answer the following questions and see if you can dig out some gold nuggets about yourself.
The Redbull Wingfinder. Although scientifically-robust, Wingfinder offers a playful and light-hearted approach to explore: connections, drive, thinking style, and creativity. It is a free personality assessment that focuses on strengths, taking around 35 minutes to complete.
A free online tool to help you think about your strengths is the Values in Action survey is a tool that measures character strengths, qualities that come most naturally to you. Every individual possesses all 24 character strengths in different degrees, giving each person a unique character strength profile. When you know your strengths, you can improve your life and thrive. Research reveals that people who use their strengths a lot are 18x more likely to be successful than those who do not use their strengths. Don’t be shy or modest, get to know what you are good at, what comes naturally to you and start appreciating the value that brings to others.
Being aware of the “great days”, the “good conversations”, the “compliments” and appreciating them can be a great way of keeping yourself from being overwhelmed by what doesn’t work/go well. Our brain is hardwired to look out for threats and problems so appreciating the silver lining can be tough on the bad days. Make sure you take time to search out the good stuff from your day. It might be that one activity you finally finished, it could be leaving the office in time to watch the kids sport or it could be as small as your regular flat white being hot and tasting great!
You have probably heard about people writing down things they are grateful for. Keeping a list of the good things in your life can help you keep perspective when things are not going your way. If starting a journal or list of things you are grateful for doesn’t work for you, try to list 5 things in your head as you do your teeth or stand in the shower. Linking listing the good things in life with an activity that is mundane and repetitive is a good way to start a new habit.
Taking the time to reflect on what really matters to you, is another way of focusing on the good stuff.
Ask yourself and then spend some time focusing on:
Be Great is a good website for helpful tricks to support your mental health, spend some time using their resources and reading a little more about what you can do to support your resilience.
Being a business owner, CEO or senior leader can sometimes feel like a lonely place. Having the responsibility of others on your shoulders and feeling like you don’t want to let people down can stop you from asking for help.
Learning how to ask for help from others and to know that you need some extra support, is a strength not a weakness.
In the face of adversity and tough times, we often feel isolated and alone. We often assume we should know how to deal with the issue’s life throws at us and asking for help is a weakness. This can often lead to a feeling of isolation and when you are on your own, problems can seem overwhelming.
Ask yourself – “what stops me from asking for help”? Understand what ingrained beliefs you have and assumptions you have made that could be stopping you from asking those around you for support, help and input.
“To call upon the support and strength of others is not an indication of weakness, it is a sign of wisdom.”
A very effective Ted Talk on resilience and thinking about putting one foot in front of the other is from Dr Lucy Hone. A New Zealand expert in resilience, she has not only studied resilience for many years, she also has first-hand experience in struggling with adversity and shares her key tips for building resilience. The link to her presentation is below.
No matter what you face, who you are, the situation you find yourself in, asking for help is an option.